A GROUP of Knutsford Academy students completed a four-day trek as part of their Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award.

Twenty sixth-form students aged between 16 to 18 years old, walked the Three Peaks of Yorkshire as part of the challenge and will receive their awards next year at St James’ Palace in London.

The school already runs the Bronze and Silver Award but this is the first Gold group it has ever had, and it hopes to continue the success it has had this year.

David Fletcher, an Academy student, said: “The expedition was both mentally and physically challenging at times, though it taught us the importance of determination and perseverance which are key skills that we will require further on in our lives.

“I can happily say I made some unexpected friendships on the trip and strengthened bonds in existing ones. These friendships brought encouragement to each group and helped fuel our spirits on the final stretches of each day. It was a great experience and I’d encourage anyone thinking of taking part in the award to do so.”

The group were out for eight hours each day, conquering 24 miles in total, including 5,200 ft of ascent.

Carrying tents, clothing, cooking appliances and enough food to last them for the duration of their expedition, the students were completely self-sufficient for the four days.

Each day the pupils stayed at a new campsite having to walk their planned route within four hours, with an additional 4 hours dedicated to the exploring of the area.

Phil Lynn, a P.E teacher who accompanied the expedition, added: “The Award scheme recognises all the additional opportunities that students engage with outside the standard education system. The different sections of the award are designed to get the students to confront fears, learn new skills, give their time up for others and both to lead and work as part of a team. Students who participate in the award scheme and have the dedication to complete their Gold Award have more colourful CV’s and are more attractive to university admissions and employers. I am very proud of all of our students who completed their final expedition and look forward to seeing them receive their award at the Palace.”

Each Duke of Edinburgh participant must complete challenges in four categories, which include volunteering, physical- which encourages youngsters to focus on health and fitness, skills- including an instrument or cooking, expedition and residential, only for Gold Award participants- which can include anything from working on a National Trust site to taking a trip to Nepal and requires students to spend time with others who they have not met before.

For more information about the Duke of Edinburgh Award, visit dofe.org